The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

        I nephew am, or son,
          Of one worth such a sum;
        But he who sees the Truth may know
          How vile he has become

        To whom the Truth was shown,
          Who from the Truth has fled,
        And though he walks upon the earth
          Is counted with the dead: 

        Whoever shall define
          The man a living tree
        Will speak untruth and less than truth,
          Though more he may not see.

        The Emperor so erred;
          First set the false in view,
        Proceeding, on the other side,
          To what was less than true.

        For riches make not worth
          Although they can defile: 
        Nor can their want take worth away: 
          They are by nature vile.

        No painter gives a form
          That is not of his knowing;
        No tower leans above a stream
          That far away is flowing.

        How vile and incomplete
          Wealth is, let this declare
        However great the heap may be
          It brings no peace, but care.

        And hence the upright mind,
          To its own purpose true,
        Stands firm although the flood of wealth
          Sweep onward out of view

        They will not have the vile
          Turn noble, nor descent
        From parent vile produce a race
          For ever eminent.

        Yet this, they say, can be,
          Their reason halts behind,
        Since time they suit to noble birth
          By course of time defined.

        It follows then from this
          That all are high or base,
        Or that in Time there never was
          Beginning to our race.

        But that I cannot hold,
          Nor yet, if Christians, they;
        Sound intellect reproves their words
          As false, and turns away.

        And now I seek to tell,
          As it appears to me,
        What is, whence comes, what signs attest
          A true Nobility.

        I say that from one root
          Each Virtue firstly springs,
        Virtue, I mean, that Happiness
          To man, by action, brings.

        This, as the Ethics teach,
          Is habit of right choice
        That holds the means between extremes,
          So spake that noble voice.

        Nobility by right
          No other sense has had
        Than to import its subject’s good,
          As vileness makes him bad.

        Such virtue shows its good
          To others’ intellect,
        For when two things agree in one,
          Producing one effect.

        One must from other come,
          Or each one from a third,
        If each be as each, and more, then one
          From the other is inferred.

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The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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